Daily Update: NJPW Wrestling Dontaku, Keith Lee, MMA notes



Wrestling Observer Radio live show coming to NJPW G1 Special
Chris Jericho reportedly heading back to New Japan Pro Wrestling
WWE SmackDown posts lowest ratings of 2018
Matches for ROH War of the Worlds tour announced
WWE SmackDown off-air notes: Daniel Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
All In tickets to go on sale later this month
WWE SmackDown video highlights: Backlash go-home show
WWE 205 Live results: Buddy Murphy returns, Gulak vs. Kalisto
Kane declares victory in close Knox County mayoral primary
United States title match official for WWE Backlash
No DQ stipulation added to WWE title match at Backlash
WWE SmackDown live results: Final Backlash build from Montreal


WOL: Kris Wolf interview plus WWE Backlash, Smackdown, tons more! 5/2
B&V&C: Retro Raw and Nitro from 19 years ago this week! 5/1

F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: Winners and losers of the superstar shakeup 

While both shows retained some of their core pieces, the rosters for Raw and SmackDown have been transformed since WrestleMania. The days after WWE’s biggest show of the year saw Bobby Lashley, The Authors of Pain, Ember Moon, and No Way Jose join Raw, while Peyton Royce and Billie Kay debuted on SmackDown and Paige was announced as the show’s new general manager. And that was just the prelude to this year’s Superstar Shakeup, which saw dozens of wrestlers switch brands.

WON NEWSLETTER: April 30, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: The story of Bruno Sammartino continued 

The new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has more about the life and death of Bruno Sammartino, as well as Motoko Baba’s death, the Greatest Royal Rumble and news out of the Impact tapings, PWG shows and UFC shows.

The lead story goes in depth about the last several months of Sammartino, the nature of his death, his funeral, what was good and bad about the WWE documentary, what was going to be left out because it had to be, as well as details of how Sammartino and WWE got back together in 2012 and 2013 after nearly 25 years of being apart.

Also look at why Motoko Baba may have been the most influential woman in the history of the pro wrestling industry. Read about the heyday of All Japan Pro Wrestling, just who Giant Baba was and his level of popularity and respect, and how the Baba’s first met.

Read about the different controversies regarding WWE doing the show in Saudi Arabia this week, the ticket situation, the promotion of Saudi Arabia by WWE, the ethical issues particularly when pushing the women’s revolution theme, as well as looking at both the Saudi Arabia and the Backlash shows.

There is also more on John Cena and Nikki Bella, WWE gets a restraining order against a crazy fan, Reigns talks next year’s WrestleMania, updates on Dwayne Johnson and John Cena in the movie business, reaction to the death of Bruno Sammartino in WWE, as well as the most watched shows for the past week on the WWE Network.

This issue covers the last two UFC events with the business notes on both of the shows, including notes on streaming viewership, pay records and more.

Read the rundown of the PWG All-Star weekend with match-by-match coverage with star ratings, thoughts on the talent involved, the farewell to Reseda of the Young Bucks, more on the situation with Keith Lee, and where things go from here.

ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to 

Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

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PWTorch reported that Keith Lee has officially signed with WWE. And whether it’s official or not, Lee coming to NXT continues to look increasingly certain. PWG confirmed yesterday that “Bask in His Glory” on May 25th, which is named after Lee and his catchphrase, will be his farewell show for the promotion. Dave Meltzer reported earlier this year that Lee had been offered a WWE contract.
Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose is set for next week’s SmackDown. The match was announced in a segment last night where Paige said Absolution is dead and Rose and Sonya Deville won’t be getting special treatment from her.
Glen Jacobs (Kane) appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto today following his apparent win in the Republican primary for mayor of Knox County. Jacobs leads by 17 votes with 43 provisional ballots remaining, which will be counted on Thursday.
PWinsider reported that Jason Jordan is scheduled to return later this month and might be back on the road by next week. Jordan has been out since undergoing “minimally invasive” neck surgery in February.
Today is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 46th birthday.
Mike Kanellis posted a photo of is newborn daughter and reflected on being nearly 10 months sober: “Less than a year ago, my days were spent sitting on this couch, taking pain killers, and watching everything I loved slip away. Now, almost 10 months sober, this is how I spend my days. Life doesn’t offer 2nd chances very often, but I feel like it has offered me one. And I plan on making the most of it. This little girl deserves that!”
While co-hosting Busted Open Radio, Mark Henry praised Seth Rollins and how good he’s gotten: “Seth Rollins, right now, is for your money, to me, he’s one of the most exciting guys wrestling. He’s getting to that ‘great’ stratusphere, like beyond elite. He’s becoming, dare I say, Hall of Fame caliber. He’s going to be one of the best before it’s all said and done with.”
The XFL has been in contact with the city of Orlando about bringing a team to Camping World Stadium.
Danny Burch (Martin Stone) thanked the fans and promoters he’s worked with after news broke that he’s signed a full-time contract with WWE: “To all fans that bought a ticket, to all promoters that brought me in for a one off or to be apart of your roster…thank you! The last 4 years has been amazing but the real hard work starts now! #nevergiveup #workhardfighteasy #believeinyourself”
Wrestling DVD Network revealed the match listing for WWE’s “Then, Now, Forever: The Evolution of WWE’s Women’s Division” DVD, which is scheduled to be released in June.
Jim Ross and Steve Austin discussed the Greatest Royal Rumble on the latest episode of the Steve Austin Show.
Pro Wrestling
The first night of this year’s Wrestling Dontaku kicks off in Fukuoka at 4 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow morning. Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page, Kota Ibushi vs. Cody Rhodes, Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay, Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & El Desperado in a 10-man tag, and NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defending against The Young Bucks & Marty Scurll are the top five matches, The second night of Dontaku will take place the next day, with Okada vs. Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, and Omega, Ibushi, Fale, Tonga & Loa vs. Cody, The Young Bucks, Scurll & Page.
Okada has been confirmed for NJPW’s Strong Style Evolved UK shows in Milton Keynes on June 30th and Manchester on July 1st. The CEO x NJPW show is happening in Daytona Beach, Florida on June 29th, and Naito and Dragon Lee have been added to the lineup for that.
Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai will make her first title defense at ROH War of the Worlds: Chicago on May 13th, facing Jenny Rose. The Briscoes vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Flip Gordon is set for the War of the Worlds tour stop in Lowell, Massachusetts on May 9th.
WrestlePro announced Joey Janela vs. Ultimo Dragon as the main event of their show in Rahway, New Jersey on June 8th.
Kia Stevens (known as Awesome Kong and Kharma in pro wrestling) wrote that she’s recovering after undergoing back surgery today.
Rich Swann tweeted that he’ll be facing Palmer on Impact Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Revolver’s Twitch special this Saturday. Swann vs. Dezmond Xavier is set for CZW in Voorhees, New Jersey on May 12th.
Leslie Smith officially filed a complaint with the United States National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the UFC effectively bought out her contract due to her labor organization efforts.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk will face Tecia Torres at UFC Fight Night: Calgary on July 28th.
Eddie Alvarez, who had been rumored to be booked against Dustin Poirier in the main event in Calgary, told MMA Fighting that he isn’t fighting until he gets a new deal with the UFC.
Johny Hendricks said the UFC wants him to return as a welterweight. Hendricks is currently a free agent.
Mario Yamasaki admitted that he should have stopped Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira sooner and said he’s attending a referee seminar by John McCarthy to observe it for his own seminars and prove himself as a referee.
Bellator 198, which was headlined by Fedor’s quick victory over Frank Mir, averaged 581,000 viewers on the Paramount Network and 169,000 on CMT.
Mir said he let his ego get the best of him when facing Fedor.
Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison’s opponent for her MMA debut will be Brittney Elkin, with the fight scheduled for the Pro Fighters League’s event in Chicago on June 21st.

Daily Professional Wrestling History: Curt Hennig wins AWA World title


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